Classic sips reissued

They're letting the green fairy out of the bottle at Morton's the Steakhouse. The original green fairy, that is.

See, over 200 years ago Pernod made the absinthe that would go on to become synonymous with those famous avant-garde poets and artists who came to define the wild bohemian lifestyle. You know the names, they range from Van Gogh to Rimbaud, Degas to Baudelaire, and so on.

But when the powerful spirit became prohibited in 1915, Pernod moved on to produce a somewhat similar-tasting hooch that didn't contain absinthe's frowned-on wormwood-derived chemical (thujone).

Now that authentic (i.e. with thujone) absinthe recipes have been proven safe to drink and are again legal, Pernod is returning to what first made it famous.

Enter Morton's. Next Friday, the upscale steakhouse that knows how to throw a great party is hosting an absinthe tasting, and it's a great deal (especially considering that 136-proof bottles of Pernod absinthe go for about $70).

On that exciting night, guests will dig into Oysters Rockefeller actually made with absinthe, plus tenderloin crostini, crab-stuffed mushrooms and "Morton's famed miniature prime cheeseburgers." To wash down those goodies, guests will guzzle three cocktails made with absinthe, plus a glass of it served ritualistic style - complete with sugar cube and slotted spoon.

To help steer attendees through all this (and maybe call them a cab later), a Pernod absinthe expert will be on hand. See you there; in honor of the drink, I'll be wearing green.

The Schlitz is back

Schlitz, "the beer that made Milwaukee famous," also has a long and storied history. It was first brewed in the 19th century, and for many decades was the best-selling beer in America, until Budweiser began stealing its crown in the '60s and '70s.

Unfortunately, Schlitz helped lead to its own demise by altering its formula in an attempt to save dough and attract more customers with less flavor, cheaper ingredients and a less-shelf-stable product.

Now that Pabst owns it, that born-again brewery is trying to do for Schlitz what it did for itself -hook a new generation of drinkers with a self-consciously "downmarket" appeal.

To achieve this, Schlitz has dusted off and is using its once very popular '60s-era recipe. The new-old Schlitz is currently available at local places like King Avenue Five, Byrne's Pub, Thirsty Ear and Anderson's General Store. -G.A. Benton

E-mail food news and dining events to gbenton@columbusalive.com